Monday, December 13, 2004


Nick Confessore talks about a few so-called "myths." He's right to call them myths - in the sense that they have a metaphorical truth which is greater than their literal truth -- and the literal truth is much more complicated than the myth. Still, it's important to recognize that the metaphorical truth has a certain validity to it. But, I think this part here is where he really goes astray:

Indeed, Terry McAuliffe, perhaps the uber-insider and the past master of collecting big checks from rich guys, did more to advance the DNC's small-donor fundraising ability than any party chair in recent memory.

I'm not one who's ever been especially down on McAuliffe, and it's certainly true that under McAuliffe the small-donor fundraising ability increased incredibly. But, did McAuliffe really have much to do with that? And, even if he did should he be running around taking credit for it?

Members of the "grass roots" doesn't want Terry taking credit for the twenty bucks they sent in - they want the "grass roots" to be credited for it. And, more than that, I don't think most people who consider themselves to be "grass roots" or "netroots" or whatever else think they gave money because of Terry's inspiring presence or skilled leadership of internet outreach programs.

Did Terry show great leadership in this area? No idea, but less talk about Terry's great leadership and more talk about the great grass roots would be smarter. If you want to reach the "little people" you do it in part by giving credit to them, and not by making it sound like they were hoodwinked out of their money by the slick DNC chief.

Small shifts in rhetoric go along way towards making people feel empowered, that they matter, that their 20 bucks matters.